For Keith Petruzzelli, 2017 has been an outstanding year.
By Joe Bertolami
The Wilbraham, Mass., native has had tremendous success, winning a significant amount of accolades, including being named USA Hockey’s Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year.
In just his first season in the United States Hockey League, Petruzzelli dominated the league with his play, posting a record of 22-10-1, as well as a 2.40 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
He received USHL First Team All-Rookie honors as well.
In a few days, Petruzzelli’s stellar year will culminate when he is chosen at the 2017 NHL Draft.
Scouts project Keith to go as early as the second round, as he is ranked second among North American goaltenders.
When asked about this milestone, Keith said, “It’s an absolute honor to be able to go. I’m just going to take it all in and enjoy the moment.”
Petruzzelli enjoyed success at a young age, committing to Quinnipiac University when he was just a freshman in high school.
After two strong years at Springfield Cathedral, he moved on to the junior hockey ranks, first playing for Selects Academy of the USPHL before signing with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL. Keith’s play this season surprised even himself.
“I definitely wouldn’t have believed you a couple years ago if you told me I would’ve won the Goalie of the Year award,” said Petruzzelli.
“This year went way better than expected.”
Keith’s hard work both on and off the ice have enabled him to progress into one of this year’s can’t-miss goalie prospects.
“I do a lot of explosive workouts, yoga, and flexibility stuff, as well, that build strength and power but still keeps you mobile as well,” Petruzzelli added.
Keith will be reunited with his brother, D.J., at Quinnipiac this fall.
“Playing with my brother again is going to be a blast. We played together my freshman and sophomore years of high school,” he added. “We have lived pretty far from each other the past few years, so it’s going to be nice getting back on the ice with him. I’m really looking forward to it.”
While his college plans are set, Keith’s future beyond that will take an important step on either this Friday night or on Saturday at the NHL Draft in Chicago.
The goalie position has evolved dramatically over the years. Keith’s size and athleticism fit the mold of today’s most successful NHL goalies.
No matter where he lands this coming weekend, Keith Petruzzelli and the team who drafts him have a very bright future together.
Top photo: Keith Petruzzelli makes a save for Team Howe against Team LeClair during the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia on Sept. 22, 2016. Photo by Joshua Boyd
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